April 29, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of American soldiers liberating Jews from the Dachau concentration camp in Germany. Many of the survivors have passed away unable to have met their liberators.
However, one Holocaust survivor, Joshua Kaufman was able to thank a brave soldier, Daniel Gillespie, for rescuing him. The emotional encounter began the same way Kaufman greeted his guardian angel 70 years earlier, with a salute. Brought together by the History Channel Germany, the two men live an hour from each other in California. Overcome with emotion, Kaufman greeted the veteran, kissed his hand and fell to his knee holding the man.
“I have wanted to do this for 70 years. I love you, I love you so much.”
“I have everything I wanted in life through him. That is the reason for my thankfulness.”
Gillespie was part of the 42nd Rainbow Division. He found Kaufman on block 11 of the camp barracks. He was the first prisoner the machine gunner encountered.
Dachau became the model for all Nazi concentration camps. The site had two sections; a camp area and the crematorium. The camp area consisted of 32 barracks where barbaric experiments were carried out in the name of medicine, prison blocks, and areas where prisoners were subjected to hard labour.
According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, approximately 188,000 people died in Dachau between 1933 and 1945. The actual number will never be known as it does not include unregistered prisoners.